What is wisdom? Pay attention to it. Perhaps all of us, up to now, have believed (until the moment you are reading this post) that we already have in your mind a precise definition of what it means and yet, I am ready to bet, that at least 9 out of 10 would not be able to enunciate this definition if not after a long and careful reasoning. Quoting Guzzanti one could say that “the answer is within you but it is wrong”. And this is because the definition of what wisdom means, what it is, is a much more complex exercise than we can initially imagine. It is something that I have experienced on my skin. Until recently I felt confidently able to define the word “wisdom”, and instead, just when, for some life tests, I found myself having to cultivate such wisdom in myself, I perceived the incredible difficulties in the definition . But let’s take a step back.

What is not wisdom

We often imagine the sage as an elderly person, or at least of a certain age. But this is a simplification with which we try to superimpose, by mistake, the word wisdom with the word experience. Practical proof that the two things do not coincide: “if experience were enough to make us wise, all the elderly would be”. But experience is only a part of wisdom: experience helps us to predict how things will go, but it is not said that our response to them will be wise.
Just as we must not confuse wisdom with wisdom. Not all brains in this world are wise. Indeed, I have often met some great pundits, bookworms able to be at ease with all human knowledge, but who then also had to be helped to cross the road because they were totally unable to stay in the world. Wise “is not” Wise. Wisdom, like experience, is also a part of wisdom because it helps us to know the things of the world. I know that the fire is burning and I don’t go near it … Yet there is always someone who still does it.
So what is wisdom? You know, at this time in my life this inner study of mine regarding the definition of the word “wisdom” is not at all disinterested. I am trying to find a definition that convinces me because I want to appropriate this ability, but before I can do it I have to understand what it really is.

What is wisdom

And what have I understood so far of wisdom? I understand that it doesn’t mean never making mistakes. Even the wise man is wrong, indeed the greatest and most painful occasions of error are those that have led him to this supernatural state of his thanks to which he looks at the world with detachment and compassion. And so I stopped crucifying myself when I’m wrong, even in the face of the most glaring mistakes, those that “it was really clear that it would end like this”. In trying to make my own some sense of wisdom I no longer scourge myself in the face of certain falls. But not for this I absolve myself. I simply understand that they are part of the journey and I try to treasure them for the rest of my journey, without having the presumption, just because I have been in the “door” for a while now to think I have already understood everything about the world.

I understood (and here I resume the concept of wisdom) that despite all those who, working speaking, I can define as great personal successes, I still have a lot to learn about the world and, thus giving myself a new (cognitive) youth, I have decided to stay open to this world and to what it has to offer me. Hence my nature as an indomitable traveler. Hence my new attitude of openness also to encounters, to feelings, in their being passion (when it is good) and in their being flapping (when it is bad). I let them cross me because I feel that no matter where they take me, they will be a journey for me that I don’t want to miss. And I also see this as some element of wisdom that I have managed to add to mine.
I understand, speaking of wisdom, that it is wise to invest my time not only in the work accomplishment but also in the cultivation of the right people to surround myself with. As if I were a plant that can choose for itself which soil to grow on, so I also try now, with wisdom, to understand who is good for me and who is just toxic. But even here, beware (and I will take up again what I expressed above), this wisdom that helps me to make a better selection of those around me is the daughter of errors, it is the consequence of all the times I have made a mistake in choosing my travel companions. In short, making mistakes has an underestimated charm.
In summary, I understood that wisdom is not something one is born with. It is therefore not a characteristic, but a competence, which in turn reaches us through different channels of life: experiences, mistakes, successes, encounters, feelings, goals… the tramlines. I imagine it as a river but it is what it is because, upstream, there were many small streams that taken individually were only streams but then joined together to create a large river.

Like a river

So much “water” is needed to become wise in life. It’s not done in a hurry. Not everyone does it. It is a long, sometimes painful, but fruitful job.
But be careful because even if you never get to have a state of total and lasting wisdom, Tibetan monk style, (and I think this concerns the bulk of the world population) it is not a problem: accepting to be “wrong” beings today we guarantee, for tomorrow, a future made up of greater awareness and capacity with respect to life, two indispensable antibodies to live better, to give more value to our days; essential to know how to really choose what is best for us not based only on hedonism or on the contrary on fear, putting into practice today what we have learned, perhaps hurting us yesterday. In a word, becoming wise.